Emergency Preparedness Consultants – Communication Is Key To Emergency Preparedness

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welcome to intrinsic motivation from a homies perspective podcast where we meet experts from all walks of life to learn their intrinsic motivations so that they can share it with the world what do we have in store today stay tuned to find out more [Music] good morning afternoon everybody out there in podcast land this is another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homies perspective it’s Tonga and I am David and today we have the pleasure of speaking with dr. Robin Burke and I like to paint a scenario that happened not too long ago before she jumps on for those that were watching the news and had somewhat of a panic globally of the people in Hawaii had gotten their phones pinged with an official message saying that the island was about to be struck by a nuclear missile I mean what do you do when you get a text like that and so a lot of people were uncertain and they kind of just stood there or prayed and didn’t really have a plan in place and hopefully that was an isolated incident and if there is somewhat similar incidents that will happen in the future we have experts like dr. Robin Burke that can actually help us with disaster preparedness so without further ado we can get into her credentials and all that we speak with her but I’d like to introduce dr. Robin Burke to the podcast welcome thank you it’s good to be here yes absolutely absolutely we love when we have people with that expertise from all walks of life but for you especially I mean uncertain times I think it behooves us to speak with people like you that has been in the trenches not just using the example on Hawaii but most many times beforehand would you agree I would and I will tell you I have a real passion for this topic Wow yeah it sounds funny you know to have a real passion for you know something as prosaic as emergency prep and stuff and it’s not because I want to live in a bunker I do have a nice social life so you don’t want to go live in a bunker but what what some research over the last decade has shown is that if we take certain modest steps in our own lives and in our community it can really reduce significantly the impact of all kinds of disasters now I agree with you and before we get started I do have to say that many people listen to the podcast know some what some of my history but I worked with as I was telling you before we started recording I work with an architecture firm here in Atlanta they’re a global firm and we did a lot of CDC work we did a lot of NIH work and at the time in the late 90s there was speaking to a lot of entities around the country both in the government and the private sector and university sector in talking about emergency part they were like yeah we had an isolated incident in 95 nothing really to worry about and then when 9/11 happened our business kind of mushroom because we were seen as experts in helping people establish plans for emergency prep so if I’m shaking my head a lot it’s because I definitely agree with with what you’re going to say and having a back-up plan in case of uncertainty that should happen in future indeed and if I may I’ll share with our audience just a little bit of what that research showed so that the tips that I’m going to offer make sense when I went down to the defense Threat Reduction agency which is the u.s. center of counter weapons of mass destruction expertise it was in early 2009 and I had helped to set up a research center at West Point in this brand-new discipline called Network science and boy does that sound arcane and boring right a bunch of mathematics but it turns out that an awful lot of the systems an awful lot of our lives today hello there Hamza I’m there I think a lot there oh I hope we did the Black Seas ain’t gonna get her yeah when you get a strength knock on the door let’s see if she calls me again yeah I think they’ll come in and we could fill some of the space so I know she she’s talking she it sounds like you’re gonna go into some computation and when we talk about network science they’re probably looking at probabilities or something happening so I don’t want to step on her toes too much about where she’s going but I think that might be where if she’s gone okay when when I had joined before I joined you guys I think I walked in on you guys talking about an incident that happened in California you want to talk a little bit about that before she comes back on oh yeah she had mentioned that when you know her husband with the experience in California and they took that earthquake in Coalinga so I said oh we have some things in common I was you know I was there in California when that earthquake happened to check oh so that’s what we were just kind of talking about that earthquake what year is that 80s after that she said like she about 84 85 and then of course they had the other one in 89 then I was like yeah we’re in California boy hurry you’re gonna have experienced earthquakes I just kind of you know it’s kind of like papi Florida if you live there you got to deal with hurricanes so absolutely absolutely blast you know tornadoes so ever you know kind of regions got the time they got to deal with now every every time when they talk about preparation and you’re saying if you live in these areas you should prepare for it and I don’t know but a lot of people don’t like they’re like uh uh won’t they won’t like I mentioned before we’re not fucking about prospects they were like yeah that happened I was isolated it won’t happen again but you you were in the 84 and 89 or quick were you any in others oh yeah I mean my whole life grown up just periodically you know you don’t know when they’re coming so you just you just going about life and all sudden BAM it just happens there’s no warning it’s not like a hurricane or a tornado when you get some kind of warning or no warning hi this is Robin back again talk about a timely issue we just lost power in the Northeast storm but I had my cell phone here it took me a moment but I did have a backup system at hand Wow of course you did dr. Burke well yeah you know I’m not sure where I got cut off but what I was talking about was this new discipline which sounds very arcane called mathematical network science and what really comes from is that so much of our lives and our world are made up of complex systems with lots and lots of connections in them the internet you know using credit cards those are pretty obvious examples infrastructure but the same thing is true of the environment it’s even to an especially true of society’s communities and societies and it turns out that across all of those really different kinds of things there are some common behaviors depending on how the elements in the system are connected with one another sometimes a network will be pretty resilient even against a fair amount of damage in other cases even a little bit of damage can cause what’s called a cascade a waterfall of successive damage you can think of an avalanche where a skier lands at the top of the mountain maybe by helicopter and a little bit of snow gets dislodged and it starts tumbling down and if conditions are just right or just wrong what you’ll end up with is tons of snow falling down into the valley the same thing can happen in all these other systems and so I got really interested in understanding when that can happen and more importantly what can we do about it to keep it from happening to ourselves so Wired magazine did an article in I think 2010 called the mathematics of averting the next Network disaster and just about all of the research that was in that article were things that were funded by the program I ran for the federal government because to counter weapons of mass destruction you have to understand the impacts of damage to the systems that we rely on and the world is very different than it was 30 years ago 30 years ago none of us walked around with portable computers with radios on them that we call smart phones you know and and it’s now the case that there are over 200 computer chips electronic type chips in most new cars clothes things like a burst of energy from a nuclear weapon that’s exploded high in the air that can damage electronics the impact of such an attack is much different than it would have been 30 years ago yeah and we wanted to understand those effects you know so we did it’s still a very new discipline but there were some really important insights that came out of it that have me passionate about coming out and talking to people to encourage people to take a few steps in emergency prep and here’s the basic sort of boiling it all down the basic idea is this in these complex systems a certain amount of damage can be absorbed and life goes on as if nothing had happened I mean you think about the internet the web the World Wide Web you get rid of my websites and nobody’s gonna notice you get rid of Amazon and or you get rid of Google and now it’s a different matter right so that’s pretty obvious you know that’s pretty obvious that the things that are sort of have lots of connections that have a big presence if you damage those you got a problem well one of the things that we discovered and it’s mentioned in that wired article one of the things we discovered is that sometimes even what appears to be minor damage can end up in an avalanche of problems and this happened in 2003 in Italy just after just a few days after the coalition of various countries entered Iraq and some of them had staged through Italy and within less than 24 hours about two-thirds of the country lost all power and Internet so what would you imagine what would your first guess be had happened there everybody thought with you go ahead you’re kind of Baylor there’s one will happen it was it was just an ordinary working day all in the middle of the day okay yeah and and everybody thought terrorism right that it was a terror attack of one sort either by somebody sympathetic to the Oh to Iraq and its causes or maybe by the Red Brigades feeling their oats again after years of being dormant people looked they looked and looked and looked and they simply could find no evidence that there was an attack like that what was a mystery and then when I went to d’etre I had the privilege of among other things launching a grant that was actually executed by a couple of really eminent physicists I mean people who are world to world class people Jean Stanley and chalumeau Havilland both of whom have all kinds of really top-level awards by their own peers or what they’ve done and they went back and looked at the data for what happened in Italy and they discovered something really interesting they discovered that a relatively minor regional power station in Italy had had a failure and okay so it had a failure it turns out unfortunately that that station was the only station that provided power to a moderately important Internet router nodes and that internet power nodes excuse me that Internet router node unfortunately was the path for system control and data acquisition data control systems to guess what two other parts of the power grid in Italy so more parts of the power grid started going down and then of course that took down more Internet routers and pretty soon you have this major problem that spreads across just about the whole country well it happened because there was a single path of dependency there if there had been even a small amount of backup the power system for that internet routing node the damage would either not have happened so extensively or certainly would have gone slower and there would have been time for the self correcting mechanisms to kick in when I saw those results I thought immediately about the ways in which in a natural disaster or in an attack things can unravel can get out of control rapidly for instance a lot of households have maybe a little bit of extra food and water many people don’t consider sanitation as an issue for emergency prep if there’s no way to handle human waste what do you think happens after a week you know dysentery diphtheria things we don’t things we’ve forgotten even exist just about starts reading so what’s it what’s the what is the thing that you or I could do it sounds silly but every time I talk about this topic here’s what I encourage people to do go to your local hardware store or Amazon buy a 5-gallon rigid paint bucket it’s a nice heavy plastic they’re solid they don’t bend and buy a roll of heavy-duty yard waste plastic bags you put a bag inside the of the bucket and now you have a temporary toilet you seal the bag put it to the side and you’ve interrupted that potential unraveling of health that would occur if you can’t get to the store and your local utilities can’t support your sewage system for a week or two weeks yeah you know so so here’s the deal it turns out that taking care of our own emergency prep is one of the biggest gifts we can give to our community it’s not just for us it’s not putting on a conspiracy hat and getting into a bunker with five years worth of freeze-dried food and a kazillion amount of guns and ammo it’s saying that we can prevent that unraveling if we ourselves are a little better prepared isn’t that cool yeah you know it’s just it’s amazing that on the one hand we take these very complex systems very powerful systems for granted and we’ve become very dependent on them and we just expect they will always be there yeah and if we think about the potential that they might fall apart we tend to say well what could I do you know I’m just one person what can I do and the answer is that if you make your self resilient if you have some emergency prep then what you’re doing is preventing the spread of further damage and if you want to see what it looks like when that doesn’t happen consider Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria we have an example right in front of us you know they did not have a resilient power grid for lots of different reasons I won’t go into that discussion but it doesn’t exist there and therefore what has unraveled in that territory in that island is public health education communications and communities communities unravelling because people are leaving the island they have no way to live um so this is my passion I can I’m not sure you can tell I get excited about this let me ask you dr. Burke so what’s it I think I don’t know when I say this when the David’s going to laugh – and you’re probably going to laugh as well especially since you’re in the middle of a nor’easter center that’s what the weather out there in here in Atlanta the city always shuts down when we have less than an inch of snow so you talk about emergency prep I wanted to get your take on country mount sort of city mouse because those and the outskirts outside of the metropolitan area they always seems maybe just a generalization but they seem like they have a greater resiliency and there’s more preparedness than our city Mouse counterpart well I think on the one hand they have too and on the other hand the city makes it so easy not to until things fall part you know I grew up in a small blue-collar town I grew up right on the edge of really serious poverty not quite in it but right on the edge of it and there were a lot of small family farms and and other things in our area you know when I grew up we hunted and fished mostly to put food on the table you know it was a supplement to our food I had friends whose mothers worked as store clerks or something and you know they would have steak once in a while and stuff like that I never had that I grew up eating trout and venison you know and and pheasant and it wasn’t until later and I found myself at a business dinner in Manhattan one night and there was a venison on the menu and one plate with three tiny little pieces of venison was more than my family’s food bill for a week used to be that I kind of step back and reassess my up for you you know maybe we were poor in some ways but not in others and you know what that taught me it was tough in some ways but what that taught me is there’s more than one way to reach a goal you know you can have a little garden you ten hundred fish you can you know be prepared to do something for yourself you can share clothes in a town near me here in New York’s mid-hudson there’s an energetic mother who coordinates cleat sharing for kids who are trying to do sports in school because the things like the cleat choose the kids outgrow and I don’t know sometimes they outgrow them in a month or two they’re expensive yeah you’ll you know so they have set up just a regular thing where if you’re willing to donate them you put them out there and you know if they have some that fit your kid great take them that’s kind of thing like grew up with and in cities it’s a little bit different I’ve lived in Los Angeles I’ve lived in Silicon Valley I’ve lived multiple times around Washington DC and and now I’m not far from Manhattan and you know in cities as a defense if nothing else people tend to shut themselves off for most people around them because it’s just overwhelming I mean if you really walk down the street in lower Manhattan and try to smile and nod at everybody who passes you um I don’t know about you but I I get sensory overload pretty quickly it’s just there’s just so much going on um but there’s also so much convenience most of my friends who’ve lived in Manhattan or lived in Brooklyn they don’t cook very often there are so many restaurants around them and their apartment is so small that they either have food delivered or they go to the local you know a deli or some place nearby for most of their meals whereas people in the country may very well not be able to afford such things not have them close by but on the other hand they have skills like making their own bread or making large pots of stew and freezing some of it that’s one of the things that I do I when I cook things like stew I often put I often cook a lot more than my small household needs and I freeze some of it so if we lose power as I just did all I have to do is defrost it and there’s ten goods that you can use for that too there are lots of ways to accomplish that but right now in my house my family could go for two weeks or more really closer to three without going to a store for food even if we can’t cook um for me I consider that a huge luxury we couldn’t afford that much extra food when I was a kid right but um but it’s also an intentional choice on my part because if my family stays healthy if said if I thought about how to stay warm and dry how to deal with sanitation then among other things I’m in a better position to help my neighbors and as it happens I have a neighbor who’s not very far does not live too far from me who is a retired nurse I know about zilch beyond really basic first-aid prep but she’s pretty knowledgeable she doesn’t know much about computers we can share we can trade if we make you know if we make a choice to get to know one another and to be in an intentional relationship with one another that’s based on choice not because someone said we have to but because we got to know each other and we came to trust one another there are things we can do to help each other um I’m hopeless with most tools although I grew up in a blue-collar house were you know people we did a lot of our own maintenance and stuff um I’ve got a neighbor who’s a carpenter you know if if I were home alone if I didn’t have my husband here or he’s on travel for his job and a major storm comes my neighbor could help me put plywood up on my windows and chances are he’s got a couple sheets hanging around so that way in which we extend past our our immediate personal prep really make our communities more resilient in the face of God knows what comes down the pike because stuff is going to come down the pike you know if it isn’t people doing crazy things it’s going to be whether doing crazy things so um you know the first step is to not be a point of failure by doing things like making sure we can handle sanitation and food to have medicine around have you know basic first aid skills that sort of thing when the next step is to reach out and weave those unity relationships build additional ties to people in your extended community um and do so not just because you like the same music or you’re the same age but because in the situations like this you can help one another and this is a case where one plus one equals three or four or five not just two because the magnifying effect of doing that for each other is huge and the more people do this the more the community and the society thrive the more the economy bounces back from that hit don’t you name it whatever the side effect is from these disasters the more that we take care of ourselves and form these relationships the less likely the chance of all of these sort of cascading collapses that are possible actually coming to pass I like to say you know the airlines get it right put on your own oxygen mask first that’s putting your own prep together but then help others and that’s the reaching out with the relationship money as we’re talking about the airport where you know one of my thing was one of those are slight lead and that’s happened a lot so you know we’re at the bar and I’m speaking to a disaster tech guy and he had gone around the world he had he was there for Katrina he was there for on today’s chernobyl and as you were talking about community relationships he had used two examples and I think it was in New York somewhere where there were two separate occasions but they were a team or partner complex and they both had a major fire and an apartment a there was minimal damage no one died and the second apartment there is like multiple deaths and there was multiple damage and follow with everything being equal economics and everything else when he pointed out was those in a part in the group a they knew each other like they knew more grandma on the first floor or you know it’s her CAD and all this they had great relationships with an apartment B everyone kind of kept to themselves and as a result pretty much lost everything yeah so I definitely echo what you’re saying about community relationships my question is it makes me think of least laugh about the 9/11 baby meeting though after 9/11 happened everybody would think oh you know free love we’re going to live life right and do the things we want you know all the babies are born nine months later because you didn’t have these artificial barriers anymore like I gotta wait till I get to whatever fill in the blank and reason why I bring it up is after like that crucial period goes up goes away everybody kind of goes back into their own bubble so how what are some tips that we could do to kind of keep them home the momentum and keep released or such going during the the quiet time as opposed to just being reactive when pumping major happens well I think it goes to intrinsic motivation truly in a little book that I published last year called check your connections how to thrive in an uncertain world I I lay out a simple process by which people can decide where to put their focus to solve any goal and I used as one of the two examples that are threaded through the book a young couple has two small kids mother-in-law living in the house who wants to do some emergency prep but just get overwhelmed with all the choices and the decisions and don’t know how to move forward that happens a lot I think and so it’s nice to say in theory well go ahead and get yourself prepared and go make relationships but when you try translate that into actions that takes a little more thought and it truly can feel like it’s just too much and if you live a busy life you have a family you have a job you have a limited budget I don’t know about you but I I’m you know I’m in much better financial shape than I was as a child but I have a budget I have limitations I’m not going to go into the Poconos or some similar place and Bill they a retreat from the entire world in case the zombies come and there are some wealthy people who have done that so how do we get started and I lay out in this book a simple process but you have to work the process it starts with saying what resources do I have right now what do I know how to do what physical things do I do what tools do I do you know do I have what relationships do I have and it also says okay so what are the basic functions associated with what I’m trying to accomplish in this case emergency prep well you need food you need water you need sanitation you need some way to communicate you need some sources of knowledge about how to do some things depending on where you are in the country you may there it may be very important to have sources of heat look I just work with those so suppose you took some sticky notes and you want your different resources down on individual stickies and you go to a white board or a big piece of cardboard or just a wall and you make a sticky through each of those functions and then you start grouping your resource stickies around the functions which functions do those resources support so I have right now about 30 gallons of drinkable water in five gallon jugs for a household of three people who and two dollars uh that is adequate for two weeks of drinking water a little bit of a small washing I happen to have a source of non drinkable water that’s a much larger that I could use for bathing if I had to in an emergency so I started looking at that and then when you draw with these maps I call them resource maps because you’ll draw a lines on your cardboard or well not on your wall ideally um on your whiteboard that show which functions your resources support you step back and say okay which of those functions are not particularly well supported in my case I looked at it and said you know I have almost no first aid supplies and I really just don’t know anything more than what’s in that really basic book I have to go look things up in all the time so once I discovered that then the question is what to do next right and this is where relationships can come into play because when we think about supporting one another and we think about resources we tend to think about things we can touch okay what do I go by but the most valuable resource when we’re planning this is information and knowledge I don’t necessarily need to rely on my neighbor the nurse to come and bandage wounds if we have a problem here in an emergency although I’d be grateful if she did but I could start by asking her advice on what I need in the first-aid kit and what course at the YMCA or what video or what book I should be spending time with if she would share that with me it would be a tremendous gift and I’m motivated to learn because when she gives me those skills now I have a new resource that makes me more resilient and puts me in a better position to help other people around me so this issue of reaching out and forming intentional relationships in order to make ourselves in the and as a community more resilient it goes to how do we really honor what these other people can bring to a joint relationship when you realize that there are things that would be important for your survival your well-being people in your household and that you don’t have them then there’s a motivation to reach out and find people who can help you understand if nothing else just help you understand what next steps you should take you know how much should I spend on a first-aid kit in my circumstances how much is too much how much is not enough why so I’m motivated to learn those things because I took time to step back and look at where I am and realize that this was an area where I was particularly vulnerable and similarly as other people get to know me a little bit or just go looking for someone who has my skills they can find me and they’ll be motivated because there are some things I might be able to help with here in Atlanta and well it would save is December we had one of those and it was the first time in that can show the December for like of generation and so gosh yeah we have change down this off it was you know I not home world a little crazy but one one shining light was next door all right what the call yeah I think it’s called nextdoor.com and we need that heavily where everyone knew like this part of the neighborhood had electricity or this part of the neighborhood didn’t have electricity or this person that was this aid needed help and so while we were charging our phones in the car we were still able stay connected and seeing what’s happening and then neighborhood you guys you with the next floor or something similar online where everyone in the communities in touch with what’s going on I haven’t done so here where I’m living in part because I’m in a more spread out ex urban area so with me it’s telephones and you know personal networks I’ve certainly used other apps for other kinds of connecting but that’s a great great resource an absolutely great resource and I’m really glad to hear about it I’ll make a point of letting other people know about it when I talk on this topic again because everything we can use to find information that connects us in these ways is 100% valuable I also I got a David no I was just real quick I was going to ask Robin you you mentioned earlier when Italy had lost all its power now that came about do you know how long they were down and out before they got you know forgotten again I don’t remember it wasn’t too very long I think you know part of the way in which the Internet has cascading failures is the way that web searches and or the internet protocols themselves work so the techies who look at these things will will realize that the Internet is what’s called a is based on what are called packet switched protocols that is ways of dividing up information into small packets like stuffing a big book a few pages at a time into envelope and addressing those envelopes except that electronic copies are virtually free and so what what the Internet software does is it takes multiple copies of that and it sends it out and to all of the servers it knows around and says hey do you know how to send this on do you know how to get this to the destination well an inherent part of that is that if it doesn’t get an answer yes back at some point it tries again and again and again you see the avalanche effect you know and in fact there in fact some not-so-nice people have exploited that to create what are called denial of services attack and the distributed denial of service attacks they’ll deliberately pound Internet routers and servers with requests that are going to cause that problem and basically clog the whole thing up it would be like deliberately causing a major traffic jam in a key intersection in downtown Atlanta and making it impossible for anybody to move during rush hour so um so you know that was part of what was going on in Italy and it took a while to clear all those cars clogged in the Internet intersections as it were oh I remember you talking about packet it makes me remember when Google shut down and I want to say it was March of 2009 do you remember when that happened yes actually I do I’m not remembering the cause though do you remember absolutely so I mean I need much sugar in March 2009 you know everyone’s kind of gone amongst their lives or whatever and doing searches and Twitter and Google shut down and so and o’mine it was really interesting because you know they had a Google had a relationship to Twitter so anything that was happening on Twitter would show up on Google and even that when Google froze they were like well what happened is it a duty to do this attack and what happened was that was when Michael Jackson died and Jackson died uh everyone I mean this global phenomena like everyone’s going searches in Google is an attack they actually shut down Wow Wow it wasn’t interesting yeah yeah for sure um there was a somewhat related thing that almost happened during the Arab Spring a colleague friend of mine was particularly focused on how social media and email was being used by people in the middle of the Arab Spring uprisings in several countries to report what was going on to report when someone was killed the report where where forces were to report you know what the different sides were where they were and how they were clashing with one another well she did a study a retrospective study they captured a great deal of that and they did a study on it what they found was that about three-quarters of the information that was being tossed around was totally bogus uh because you’re in the heat of chaos you’re in the heat of oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god right and people want to pass that along in case somebody else needs to know and they don’t take time or they don’t have a way to filter it out the ten percent that was accurate was just amazing it was our only window into a whole lot of different issues including when security forces came in and massacred protesters right but the other eighty or ninety percent just totally flooded the information channels in people’s minds so it’s not just physical infrastructure that can get and electronic stuff that can get flooded that way we can get flooded with our ability to process and sort through and evaluate the information that’s there and and that’s another reason why preparedness matters so much I don’t know if you remember was it last year that a guy with a truck decided to do a personal jihad and start mowing down bicyclists in lower Manhattan in health area you know and the tells the area is among other things the center of the gay community of a gay community a well known gay community in the area and that was one reason it was chosen I think if I remember correctly um but you know a lot of people who were around the area at the time froze because they had never stopped to consider if something happens while I’m here what are my ways out what are my options now one of the interesting things that the military and the self-defense people teach is establishing what they call situational awareness stopping taking a deep breath noticing where you are ideally doing it before an event happens and then being able to say okay I’m in this place if the subway stop running or if there’s a major disaster fire breaks out and things are blockaded I have these three ways to get home or I have these two places to shelter if some idiot with a gun you know starts trying to kill people that kind of preparedness does two things for us first of all it saves lives it also helps prevent the unraveling that happens when people panic together and it allows people to calmly pull out their phones give accurate reporting to the authorities or to family members and therefore help to get the situation’s stabilized so that’s the opposite of what happened in the Arab Spring and it’s so it’s a really good in my opinion it’s a really good illustration of how preparedness is more than having boxes of freeze-dried food or cans and some water if you know that you have some self-defense skills say whatever the self-defense skills are that you feel morally comfortable having and using then you have that much extra time to take a deep breath not panic and make a conscious choice about your next step when an emergency happens and if you can’t do that you might even be in a position to help from other people as well so um I am one of those people who does own a handgun and I know how to use it and I’m very responsible with it I don’t necessarily believe everyone should have one I think it depends a great deal on where you live and what kinds of things you do and who you are and whether you’re willing to put in to put the investment into learning how to use it accurately and very responsibly and without panicking I grew up in a family that hundred and fifty so some of that came to me as a child other people don’t want to touch one and I really understand that but even if you simply know that you’re in good physical shape and can jog away from a problem or if you have basic street self-defense skills it just feels such a long way to preventing this again cascade or avalanche of panic that hits during emergencies and disasters of all sorts so prep is a lot more than putting boxes in some place and we’re not talking about honestly we were honestly not talking about building bunkers and you know storing 50 thousand rounds of ammunition or you know six years worth of freeze-dried food or whatever else in it um if people want to do that that’s fine but I like meat an awful lot of people would think that that’s the only prep option they really have and so they don’t want to go there and they do nothing and my nishan right now the thing that I’m really passionate about is to tell people there are other choices our choices that are socially responsible there are choices that are relatively inexpensive no matter what your budget is you can certainly meet your neighbors get to know people figure out what things you specifically especially need to augment your own resources and go looking and talking to people who know about those things I have a question about a situational awareness so yeah last month was valent little February so Valentine’s Day we had a lot of relationship coaches on and they were talking about you know in the bedroom and what have you you may have a safe word or what have you so just ask you that for situational awareness as well like if something happens and they’re out publicly you and your family has something similar like there’s a safe word or there’s a word that only the family knows that hey you need to be on high alert we haven’t done that in specific although it’s a very good idea but I can tell you a story about 911 because my family was involved on on 9/11 2001 I was in our home we had moved up to the mid Hudson Valley about 75 miles or so north of lower Manhattan and I was rehabbing a badly damaged knee so I had done a little bit of stretching in the morning and I was a key and I hated the exercises so I turned on the TV just to distract myself all I did my physical therapy exercises and I saw the second plane hit the Twin Towers and I realized at that moment that our adult daughter a young adult daughter was working in lower Manhattan that day in fact it turns out she was working about half a block from the Twin Towers so I did what any mother would do right I got on the cell phone I got on the phone and I went to call her on the cell phone and what I got was all circuits are busy mm-hmm okay so I take a deep breath and I try again all circuits are busy we could not reach her by phone for 36 hours we’re 75 miles away and we cannot reach our daughter you know for 36 hours fortunately she was able to call out to her grandmother in San Francisco within a couple of hours of the attack and so we heard indirectly that she was fine we didn’t actually get to speak with her for a day and a half so we had arranged that you know if there’s an emergency and were separated make sure extended family knows and they’ll get the message back to us yeah good idea and that incident was part of what set me off when I found out about Network science later got me really interested in supporting that new discipline because way back in here I’m dating myself guys way back in the 1970s I wrote one of the first internet protocol software stacks in Silicon Valley so I know how the internet works and I I know how cellphones work technically how the cell system works and it got me really curious why was it that she could call 30 miles 3,000 miles away excuse me 3,000 miles away but couldn’t call 75 miles away and the answer is that um about three-quarters of the people who were in lower Manhattan that day live and work north and east of the city and so that’s where the communications lines were totally flooded just overwhelmed right nobody was really trying to call the west coast much so once my daughter managed to get through to a cell tower it wasn’t very hard for that call to get routed out to the west coast and that was after she had trudged all the way north to a bridge across the bridge and down to Brooklyn in total shock weary hungry covered with soot not everything else you can imagine it was a it was a really scary day but it was also an interesting day because she when she told us about that walk that long grueling walk and nobody knew what was happening nobody knew what was going to come next you know oh she told me about cases where there was a guy who was clearly in good physical shape actually carried an older woman across a major bridge I mean that was just just an incredible gift right he had invested and being prepared physically and he was able to do that there were people who shared what water they had in a bag you know bottle of water or a protein bar or just encouragement there were a lot of people who shared clothes because it got chilly and you know people rushed out of their buildings trying to stay alive and some of them didn’t grab their coats it really got me thinking about this whole issue so when I heard that there was this new discipline called Network science I said it’s late in my career I’m not going to start a new research thread of my own but I can certainly support this by setting up a research center by running a grant program for a while and then I did go on to lead some research teams that applied Network science to some national security and other issues but you know we live in this incredible world it’s just amazing I go online and within 30 seconds I’ve ordered something from around the world and it’s going to be at my house in two days it’s just breathtaking but underneath that are these vulnerabilities precisely because we’ve become so dependent on all these interconnected systems and that’s what the incident in Italy showed that’s what Eugen Stanley and Shalom O Havilland in their very prestigious team found they found that it was at the places of interdependence between multiple systems that things can get really really vulnerable and fragile if we don’t take care to have backup there was a collection and interdependence between the intranet and the power systems in both directions because the power systems relied on the internet for their control signals to come the SCADA systems that’s new 20 years ago SCADA was not was something you did locally that technicians did locally it wasn’t something you did over the internet remotely so in creating all of this convenience and the sophistication we have also created some potential vulnerabilities that are very serious the good news is having just a few backups can go a long way to softening the impact of any damage that happens yeah yeah any other questions leave it I was just going to just save the Robin I completely agree I was in the grocery business for like 20 years oh wow yeah a New Mexico and of all places up in this one will say which is like 7,000 so ever you know every winter we get some pretty heavy snows and you know I was you know delivery and a lot of the grocery stores and whatnot but when they got those snows real bad maybe it’s for a few days and most stores were empty quick yeah I know I’m there I’m seeing it but I mean you know I tell people you don’t realize how fragile that system is it’s like you know you go to the store and everything start all the shells and everything everything looks nice and you know people there in the middle of the night preparing that so when you come into the store that opens everything looks good but I’m telling you right now you know they get trucks every single day and if that just stops for a few days that that stores are going to be gutted like that yep so now let’s take that a step further I mentioned electromagnetic pulse damage EMP EMP is a power surge that can come through the air as a result of a nuclear explosion we know it happens we also know that lot of electronics are vulnerable to this and that’s why we have power surges on our computers right if there’s a if there’s a major storm and your computer’s plugged directly into the wall and there’s a power surge because the line goes down it can fry your computer well imagine what would happen is an EMP attack fried the electronics in a bunch of trucks and cars and communication systems in the Central Valley of California Central Valley of California still even after there were environmental changes that made it much harder for farmers to get water it fill supplies a large chunk of the fresh produce in the United States those trucks cannot pick and deliver produce communications are down what do you think is going to happen within a couple of days on the East Coast right so that’s one of the side effects of this of these wonderful sophisticated complex systems that we’ve built that the effects of damage can not only be big from small events but they can be distant you used to be that if you went to war war was something that happened in a place right and it’s a horrible thing but if it wasn’t in your place you would not necessarily be directly affected by it maybe indirectly economically or in someone but but not directly today a cyber attack that takes down capabilities at one end of a continent can affect people at the other end of the continent very very quickly yeah but the good news again is that with some backups we can go a long way to softening and limiting that kind of second and third-order side effects and I’ll bet you knew that I’m sorry I forget which of you just said you worked in the grocery business there David I did hi David yeah thank you David when you were in that business I bet you knew multiple ways to get down a mountain or around if a bridge went out in bad weather oh yeah yeah definitely might be longer right might be less convenient might be boring but if you could get there when your main route was closed you are much more resilient than if you were dependent on that bridge alone right yes exactly so that’s what we’re talking about we’re talking about finding and putting into place these little alternate backup ways to get things done that are crucial and you know we’re not going to use them forever the cost of trying to be prepared for a year or two years or a social breakdown is huge unless you’re one of that handful of very very wealthy people who have built what are essentially bunkers in remote places you can’t afford it I certainly can’t but two weeks goes a long way to giving authorities and and specialists an opportunity to fix problems you know if if you know and and forgiving that kind of breathing room giving that that little bit of extra space just as with the situational awareness if you have some physical preparation you have some mental preparation for emergencies and self-defense you have that little extra space to respond constructively so similarly having emergency prep including information including making these connections with other people so that you choose by choose by choice support one another during these situations well just support one another in knowing how to be prepared that just goes a long way to keep society from unraveling and that’s my real goal and passion here I don’t want to send us back to living on the farm I don’t want to give up my cellphone I don’t want to give up my internet access I’d go crazy without my social media might be good for me but I’ll go crazy without it but but it would be really nice to know that I have friends locally that I don’t need to rely on that source of information that I have some books for first aid if I can’t get online to look something up that I have someone I know who’s got that knowledge in her head absolutely and I think we covered a lot of about emergency prep but I think there are even more to cover in your book so if you can give another plug of the name of your book where they can find it where they can find you on social media they’ll be fantastic I will gladly do so I have a website called check your connections pearl dot-com and the book is called check your connections how to thrive in an uncertain world it’s available on Amazon in print and Kindle format and it’s available in print through bookstores and libraries and what it will do it will give you some background some illustrations it’ll help to explain why we why the old ways of organizing our lives are no longer completely adequate and that’s true whether it’s emergency prep or just running a project in a tech company or running a small business we have so much rapid technology change that uncertainty is much higher than it was a hundred years ago change is happening so rapidly so we need a way to think about meeting our goals that leaves us flexible and able to respond when things change partway through while we’re trying to get something done well and that’s really what the book is about it gives you a simple process anyone can use to meet their own goals including emergency prep goals in a way that fits your household or your personal needs and your highest priorities check it out and on my website I do have a comment form if you have questions or concerns I do respond to email that comes to me via the comment form you have just been attuned to another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homeys perspective the conv and ina davis hopefully everyone has gotten some more tidbits that you can employ immediately about emergency prep and with that we thank dr. Robin Burke for visiting us on our podcast today fantastic and thank you for having me guys it’s been a pleasure yes thank you yes listen to intrinsic motivation from a homeys perspective on radio public it’s a free easy-to-use app that helps listeners like you find and support shows like ours when you listen to our show on radio public we receive direct financial support every time you hear an episode experience our show and radio public today by listening to the show link in our episode notes and thank you for listening thanks again for checking out another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homeless perspective podcast please check us out on our website at intrinsic motivation dot life where you can click on the speak pipe button and leave any suggestions for a future podcast that you’d like us to cover also check us out on our social media sites we have a YouTube channel Facebook page iTunes podcast in addition to stitcher and Google Play all under intrinsic motivation from a homeys perspective check you out next time have a great day you